12 1789 ~ Franz Xaver Richter died. He was an Austro-Moravian singer, violinist, composer, conductor and music theoretician who spent most of his life first in Austria and later in Mannheim and in Strasbourg, where he was music director of the cathedral.
• 1888 ~ Maurice (Auguste) Chevalier, French chanteur and actor
• 1891 ~ Adolph Weiss, American composer and bassoonist
• 1924 ~ Ella Mae Morse, Singer, first artist to record for Capitol Records
• 1931 ~ George Jones, ‘The Possum’, singer
• 1940 ~ Tony Bellamy, Guitarist with The Tornados
• 1940 ~ Johnny Long’s orchestra recorded the classic A Shanty in Old Shanty Town for Decca Records.
• 1943 ~ Maria Muldaur (d’Amato), Singer
• 1944 ~ Booker T. Jones, American rock-and-roll musician
• 1944 ~ Barry White, Singer, played piano on Jesse Belvin’s Goodnight My Love in 1955
• 1952 ~ Gerry Beckley, Singer in the Grammy Award-winning (1972) group, America
• 1952 ~ Neil Peart, Drummer with Rush
• 1966 ~ “Hey, hey we’re the Monkees — and we don’t monkey around…” The theme song from the NBC-TV show, The Monkees, kicked off a fun-filled weekly series on this day in 1966. Some 400 aspiring actors had auditioned for the Columbia television series by producer Don Kirschner. Davy Jones, a former English horse racing jockey; Michael Nesmith, a session guitarist; Peter Tork of the Phoenix Singers; and Micky Dolenz, who had appeared in the TV series Circus Boy were picked to be America’s answer to The Beatles. The four were picked to become the fabricated music group – not because they could sing, act or play musical instruments – but because they looked the parts. Dolenz and Jones were actors, Tork and Nesmith had some musical experience. The Monkees were the first made-for-TV rock group. Ironically – or maybe not – The Monkees TV show won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series of 1967.
• 1966 ~ The Beatles received a gold record this day for Yellow Submarine.
• 1970 ~ James Taylor’s first single, Fire and Rain, was released. Taylor scored 14 hits on the music charts in the 1970s and 1980s.
• 1980 ~ An in-depth report on the death of Elvis Presley aired on ABC-TV’s 20/20. It raised so many unanswered questions that the official case concerning Elvis’ death was reopened.
• 2000 ~ Stanley Turrentine, a jazz saxophonist whose hit “Sugar” established him in the popular mainstream and influenced musicians in many other genres, died after suffering a stroke. He was 66. Turrentine played tenor saxophone, and mixed jazz with blues, rock, pop and rhythm and blues. He lived in Fort Washington, Md., outside Washington, D.C. “His impact on jazz was just astonishing,” said his agent, Robin Burgess. “He had a large impact on fusion, electric jazz and organ trio music.” Turrentine grew up in Pittsburgh, surrounded by music. His brother Tommy played trumpet, and the two played together in Pittsburgh while they were still in high school. Turrentine started his professional career playing with Ray Charles and Max Roach. He went solo in the 1960s and scored his biggest hit in 1970 with “Sugar,” which became something of a jazz standard. His blues-influenced riffs brought him commercial success with albums including “Stan ‘The Man’ Turrentine,” “Up at Minton’s,” and “Never Let Me Go.”
2003 ~ Johnny Cash, “The Man in Black”, died at the age of 71.
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